Bil’s rating (out of 5): 0. USA, 2002. Warner Bros., DreamWorks, Parkes+MacDonald Image Nation, Arnold Leibovit Entertainment. Screenplay by John Logan, based on a screenplay by David Duncan and the novel by H.G. Wells. Cinematography by Donald McAlpine. Produced by Walter F. Parkes, David Valdes. Music by Klaus Badelt. Production Design by Oliver Scholl. Costume Design by Deena Appel, Bob Ringwood. Film Editing by Wayne Wahrman. Academy Awards 2002.
19th-century scientist Guy Pearce loses his fiancee in a mugging in Central Park and concocts a way to undo the unacceptable past: he creates a time machine. Trying to rewrite history and keep his lady love forever, he finds himself trapped by the same disastrous results every time he tries to go back. To find answers to his complicated problem, he pushes the time machine forward into the future and ends up tens of thousands of years ahead of himself in a world inhabited by peaceful primitives who are used as a food and energy source by a race of evil subterranean monsters. This devastatingly boring and amateurishly done production has absolutely nothing to recommend itself aside from a couple of neat visual tricks: the future of the world as witnessed in fast motion through his machine is well-done and interesting, as is a creepy scene involving the destruction of the moon. Other than that it’s a ninety-minute adventure that hasn’t even gotten started after its first hour is over, and then manages to go nowhere at all in a matter of minutes. Jeremy Irons has a cameo as the head of the baddies, and though his appearance is effective, his role is done away with too quickly. Pearce looks embarrassed to be in this mawkish production, and even the badly computer-generated monsters (most of whom look like Fraggle Rock rejects) seem to be avoiding being seen on camera.